Bill Gates will step down as Microsoft front-man in order to pursue his charity work. "For these last 31 years, I've had the best job in the world. I've worked with some of the brightest and most passionate people in the world. Together, we've built a great company whose products have empowered people around the world." Gates release was scheduled for this fall, but was pushed back to spring 07, and then pushed back again until sometime in 2008. [photo via chrisglass]
In an unusually prescient move, President Bush declared yesterday a section of oceanic wilderness off northern Hawaii to be a national monument, opening the biologically rich ecosystem to immediate government protections. These will include the phase-out of commercial fishing zones and strict prohibitions on invasive use of the area. The area, nearly as big as California, supports more than 7,000 species, a quarter of which occur nowhere else. "To put this area in context, this national monument is more than 100 times larger than Yosemite National Park. It's larger than 46 of our 50 states, and more than seven times larger than all our national marine sanctuaries combined. "This is a big deal," Bush said.
If having a cell phone keeps you in touch with friends, having a freaky-ass cell phone ring is sure to alienate you from people around you. Self-inflict this post-modern quandary using auteur David Lynch's brand of unusual ring-tones. Why switch to vibrate when you can hear a frightened mousy voice shout "My teeth are bleeding! My teeth are bleeding! My teeth are bleeding!" until you pick up the phone. Only $4 each...plus the cost of bail. [via time.com]
AOL released a beta version of its instant messenger service targeted towards business users. AIM Pro is free while in its test phase, but will likely move to a subscription-based service. It will integrate with Outlook and allow for easy video-conferencing. [via zdnet]
Premium flavored vodkas have overflowed the top shelves in the past few years, but California distillery Modern Spirits takes the trend a step further by introducing custom vodka flavors that are as eccentric and specific as your palate can imagine. "We start with extensive client profiles to map out their emotional connections to flavors, cuisines and ingredients, as well as how they entertain and socialize," said Modern Spirit's co-founder Litty Mathew. The custom flavors sell for $150 a bottle with a minimum order of ten cases. But if you don't need that level of personalization, you can sip one of their premade flaves. Celery Peppercorn, anyone?
Google Books launched a comprehensive website on the complete works of Shakespere as part of its sponsorship of Shakespere in the Park. Search the full text of multiple editions of each classic work or browse Willie's complete oeuvre by genre.
Google also launched a special site aimed at turning big brother on himself: "Google U.S. Government Search offers a single location for searching across U.S. government information, and for keeping up to date on government news."
eBay released an unlikely feature of it's pioneering auction site: blogs. eBay hopes that the blog service will capitalize on its powerful community culture, where users build reputations from they way they are "rated" as buyers or sellers. Finally, we can keep up with PowerSellers like THONGSman for crazy deals on last year's hot bikini-brief styles!
Meanwhile, VloggerCon 2006 wrapped up last weekend, sending Vloggers scattering to explain to the masses what the hell vlogging is. "It's video blogging, duh!" they vlogged. Keep abreast of the GLBT vlogging community via Faggregator.
your house Amazon.com again! Amazon introduces Grocery (beta) to the collected "D'oh!" of local food stores everywhere. Seems like a novelty, but we could see the shopping list becoming an addiction.
This new digital picture frame by Philips is a practical gadget with a cool, modern look and, at $210, a decent price tag. It couldn't be easier to pop your camera's memory stick into the frame and let the sideshow begin -- all on a 7" (diagonal) screen that's bright and pixel-dense for print-quality sharpness. Easily adjust brightness and set the internal timer to automatically turn on and off display at preset times. [via uncrate]
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